British actor Jonno Davies is in New York City—his first visit ever—to participate in auditions for A Clockwork Orange. The show is making the leap from London to Off-Broadway’s New World Stages, and Davies, who has been playing the lead role of Alex DeLarge on and off for the last three years, is in town with director Alexandra Spencer-Jones to find his American “Droogs.”
Based on Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel and the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange—which began performances September 2 anad plays through January 6, 2018—is set in a dystopian British society and follows the ultra-violent Alex and his band of malicious Droogs. The gang, particularly Alex, are at once beloved and loathed as they go about terrorizing and “educating” innocent citizens.
The all-male stage adaptation hails from Action to the Word, a U.K.-based theatre group that presents radical interpretations of classics. Davies, who first played Alex during the show’s tour in Norway and led the cast during its acclaimed London run, is the only cast member making the transfer, and while sad to lose his close friends, he’s excited to have some “new lads” to work with.
“This is a whole new life for Clockwork,” says Davies. “It’s awesome to be able to give other actors the opportunity to become a ‘Clockwork Boy,’ as we like to label it. A lot of people think that they just hire big strong guys with six packs, but that’s not the case. That just tends to be a result of doing the show for a long time.”
Fifty percent of A Clockwork Orange focuses on movement, and during rehearsals the cast does an hour of high-intensity circuit training each morning. Throughout the show’s run, they scale back to half an hour of daily exercise on top of regular warm-ups.
The physical training has translated into a passion for Davies, who now has a fitness blog and promotes healthy living via his Instagram. The actor says that all of the physical activity is also great for team bonding and building trust among the men, paramount in a show that features so much choreographed violence. “You get so close in such a small space of time,” says Davies.
Davies kept that firmly in mind throughout the New York auditions, with an eye out for actors who would be at ease in such a tight-knit group. “How people are in an ensemble is just as important, if not more so, than their talent,” he says. A certain kind of playfulness is also key, something he saw in several of the American actors. “After meeting them, I’m totally excited. I can’t wait!”